The New Normal: A Family-Centered Approach to Grief Support - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The New Normal: A Family-Centered Approach to Grief Support

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  1. The New Normal: A Family-Centered Approach to Grief Support Presented by: Cindy Maldonado-Schaefer Kristy Burns

  2. Erin’s House for Grieving Children • Overview • Located in Fort Wayne, IN • Opened in 1993 • Volunteer-based • Peer support model • 6 full-time staff; 2 part-time staff • Services are free

  3. Evolution of Change • Before • Adult groups separated (spouse, child, other) • Emphasis on advantages of confidentiality • Free rein of group agendas for facilitators • Broad conversations • After • Adult groups combined • Encourage children to share with their parents & caregivers • Monthly themes for consistency • Intentional conversations

  4. What does that look like? • Features • Family intake • Themed program nights • Suggested activities & crafts • Educational adult groups • Adult topic resources • Family Fun Worksheet • Family Camp

  5. Family Intake • Highlights • Involve the whole family for the intake • Upfront explanation of the family-centered approach • Resources explaining children’s grief • Resources on how to address specific concerns • Emphasis on the importance of communication • Explain the value of family meals/time • Outline expectations for group participation • Sign participation agreement

  6. Themed Programs • Highlights • Theme rotates every month • Creates group focus • Flexible enough to allow group to flow where the kids take it • Addresses issues kids might be afraid to bring up • Fosters high quality group dynamics • Provides points of discussion for families outside of Erin’s House • Targeted learning for adults on children’s grief issues • Guides adults in creating family action plan

  7. Suggested Activities & Crafts • Highlights • Use of suggested activities is optional for facilitators • 12-15 activities per theme (split between 2 group meetings) • Includes activities for all different outlets • physical • artistic • introspection • storytelling • Healing Heart activities organized by theme • Streamlines craft supply purchasing • Relieves facilitators from additional planning

  8. Educational Adult Groups • Highlights • Creates greater understanding of children’s grief • Provides normalization of observed grief reactions • Teaches techniques for communicating with their children • Coaches adults on how to start discussions regarding theme • Formatted to cover multiple adult learning styles

  9. Adult Topic Resources • Highlights • Printed resources provided by Program Specialist • Provides holistic perspective of themes • explanation • tips for helping their children develop coping skills • suggested family activities • Reference for future use

  10. Family Fun Worksheet • Highlights • Designed to facilitate discussion outside of Erin’s House • Provides variety of suggestions • conversation starters • dinner table discussion points • family activities, crafts, & games • Validates child’s desire to memorialize their loved one

  11. Family Camp • Highlights • Concentrated time together as a family • Fun outdoors • Separate time for reflection & development • Free weekend get away • Validates child’s desire to memorialize their loved one

  12. Successes & Snags • Successes • More control of discussion topics • Facilitators rose to the challenge • Snags • Consistent, clear communication • Pushback • combining adult groups • too structured • Overabundance much change at one time

  13. Contact Information Cindy Maldonado-Schaefer, Director of Operations Kristy Burns, Lead Program Specialist Erin’s House for Grieving Children 6718 E State Blvd Fort Wayne, IN 46815 (260) 423-2466 www.erinshouse.org